Today artificial intelligence (AI) still sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s undoubtedly real. AI is leaving its footprint in practically every industry, and marketing has been no exception.
It’s influencing all aspects of marketing, including advertising, customer support, content creation, and revenue generation, among other areas. In this article, you'll discover how AI is changing marketing, and several ways organizations are using the technology to grow.
By: Gabriel Nwatarali
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence refers to any system able to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence. Some of the tasks AI can perform includes:
- Emotion recognition
- Creative processes
- Disease diagnosis
AI can also do things that humans can’t, such as mind-reading, and if you feel that’s a bit problematic, you’re not alone. Just imagine how psychics feel.
How AI is augmenting marketing
AI is optimizing marketing performance by automating various human-dependent processes, which in turn, eliminates the risk of human error.
It uses big data analytics and other processes to provide insights into target audiences. Those insights help marketers create more efficient and effective customer touchpoints and make better decisions. In addition, it removes most of the guesswork involved in marketing.
However, while AI can make decisions using nothing but data, it's no substitute for human touch — at least, not yet. That's partly why the application of AI in marketing and other industries has been mostly controlled.
But if Moore's Law holds for much longer, a future where AI can handle entire marketing campaigns isn’t far. Moore’s Law predicts that computers' speed and processing power will double every couple of years, and that notion has held true for decades.
Here are some AI innovations that are currently changing the marketing industry.
1. AI is creating content
Many marketers are already leveraging AI technology to speed up the creation of content. AI can offer content suggestions and even write complete articles, such as this one on The Guardian. However, the tech is far from perfect when it comes to content creation.
Writing is a creative thing, and AI still struggles in that area. The content quality is currently well below standard for AI writing engines, though more advanced technologies like GPT-3 can produce “ok” content. But even with GPT-3, you’ll still need an expert writer or editor to polish the content.
Nevertheless, AI can save your writers tons of time. It can automate various aspects of content creation, such as idea generation, research, and aid writers with editing and proofreading.
2. AI is enhancing advertising
Advertising produces tons of data that marketers work with to improve outcomes. AI is simplifying two critical aspects of advertising: creating ads and optimizing ad campaigns.
Many top online advertising and social media companies have AI-driven tools that help advertisers create ads automatically. Most notably is Facebook, where the system can generate ad creatives and variations in seconds.
AI is a natural fit for optimizing advertising campaigns. Thanks to the Internet, there’s an almost unlimited ability to gather and generate data. However, no human can analyze all of that information and come to conclusions as fast as AI.
AI-driven ad tools can detect patterns at scale and predict what changes are necessary to improve performance. All of that often occurs within seconds instead of hours or days.
For example, Google uses AI to maximize relevance and performance across its ad network. That includes driving more foot traffic for local campaigns, optimizing PPC bids, shopping campaigns, ad distribution for AdSense, and much more.
3. AI is improving customer service
AI-powered chatbots are a game-changer. Major corporations already have these systems on websites, answering frequently asked questions and directing customers to appropriate resources.
Before chatbot technology, organizations needed to hire a lot of employees to cover customer service and support. Now businesses can automate various tasks using a chatbot, which reduces wait times and increases resolution times. As a result, the customer experience often improves.
One study by Juniper Research found that AI-driven chatbots saved banks $165 million in 2019.
As chatbots become more sophisticated, responsive, and natural than ever, a time may come when these systems will handle entire customer service departments without parameters.
For example, Mitsuku is the world’s most human-like chatbot, winning the Loebner Prize Turing Test five times. Mitsuku is capable of having human-like conversions, including sharing stories, jokes, poems, and horoscopes. You can ask Mitsuku about anything.
That noted, don’t expect a chatbot to do everything when it comes to customer service — the tech isn't there yet. At any time, people should be able to speak to another human if preferred. Further, relying solely on a chatbot for customer service can lead to reputation damage.
4. AI is improving conversion rate optimization (CRO)
Getting visitors to a website is only one aspect of growing a business. Those visitors still need to take the desired action (e.g., buy, subscribe, etc.), which is why more website traffic isn’t always the answer to growth.
CRO is the process of squeezing the most out of your current website traffic to reach higher profits, and AI is enhancing outcomes. Many marketers use AI-powered CRO platforms to serve the best experience to consumers.
For example, Unbounce “Smart Traffic” feature lets brands redirect customers to pages that are most likely to convert. Essentially, the system analyzes data, such as browser history, location, time zone, etc., to determine where to send a user. For instance, an eCommerce brand can automatically send a user to the movies page based on patterns in that person’s browsing history.
So much potential
AI still has ways to go, but it's already benefiting marketing in various ways. Most of the AI technologies currently on the market are ANI or Artificial Narrow Intelligence. These systems can perform single tasks efficiently (e.g., playing chess, helping users decide what to watch on Netflix, etc.).
But there are other AI types, which include:
- AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) — These programs can perform any intellectual task that a human could.
- ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence) — This refers to any AI that surpasses human intellect.
As you’ve no doubt realized, there’s still so much untapped potential. If you want to use AI-powered technologies in your business, it’s best to start with the small things and work your way up. That way, you can assess its impact and overall benefit to your brand. Good luck.
Gabriel Nwatarali is an online marketing specialist and the founder of Tech Help Canada, a digital services agency for businesses. He has worked with many organizations and entrepreneurs, helping them make the most out of their online presence. His motto is “there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for marketing because every business situation varies”.